Why designing your organization’s service catalog should be a priority

Designing and delivering a service catalog might never come across as something an IT organization needs to do as a priority. But over time this viewpoint evolves and changes – it becomes crucial for an organization to define it.

Why?

Having a well-defined service catalog is an important step on the way to designing the overall service strategy for an organization. A service catalog will make the value of IT explicit to users, and encourage them to follow due process, improving efficiency and organization.

Improve self-service

This might be an obvious benefit but I cannot stress further on how much this would improve service desk efficiency. This, however, depends on how well you have defined the service fulfilment process. The ideal service fulfilment process should involve as much foolproof automation and as little human intervention as possible – only for critical category items and the actual delivery of physical category items should manual attention be needed. And if your ITSM tool has a user-friendly shopping cart experience, it only adds to the benefit of improving self-service.

Protip: A well-designed user interface for the user is half the job done when it comes to user adoption of your service desk.

Customer satisfaction

The seamless experience a user has in ordering a service through an eCommerce like experience will only encourage users to use the support portal more. A word of caution, however, is that many organizations spend a lot of time making the service catalog pretty; unless the processes laid are rock solid, a pretty interface means nothing.

Keep track, measure and improve

In an environment where every single activity that we do is measurable, it follows that what is measurable is improvable. Your service desk is a gold mine of data and the metrics are something an IT organization should dig into for better service design and delivery. Successful implementation and adoption of the service catalog mean the IT department has access to umpteen data points to aid decision making. One such example of converting a data point to a decision could be analyzing the catalog items that customers request and don’t request. The IT organization can use this to offer better and contemporary services as opposed to legacy services. You are designing the service for the customer after all. There cannot be a better source of feedback.

Here are some ideas you can use to improve service delivery based on service catalog metrics –

Metric Possible action/inference
Least and most requested service Bridging the demand-supply gap
Time taken to deliver a service Work on the efficiency of service delivery
Number of requested items per department grouped by type Availability planning
Frequency in which a particular user requests a particular service Predicting lifetime of a service
Spend for each request Financial planning
Service requests trends Predict demand and plan accordingly

Close the loop

There are two goals of a service catalog implementation. One is for the users to easily access and request services entitled. The other is to arm the IT department with a rich repository enabling them to add, edit, remove catalog items and categories. Since a major part of the service catalog is used to ensure business continuity, it is important to constantly monitor feedback from business units for better service delivery.

In essence, taking a step back and looking at the service catalog as a business enabler as opposed to a mere IT tool, will give you a whole new perspective.